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The wearing of the green

Music

The wearing of the green

Pop quiz, hotshot: Where was Saint Patrick born? If you said Ireland, this'll be a useful history lesson. Saint Patrick was born in Britain, then part of the Roman Empire, around 400 A.D. In the Confession, Patrick's alleged autobiography, we learn he came from a wealthy family of Catholic ministers

Turkish delights

Features

Turkish delights

It's easy for Americans to get the false impression that Islam is a mostly Arabian religion. In fact, only about one in eight Muslims around the world is ethnically Arab, and only one in five speaks Arabic as a primary language. The country with the highest Muslim population, at 205

2017 Best of Olympia: Ramirez Mexican Store

Online Newspapers

2017 Best of Olympia: Ramirez Mexican Store

When I was a boy in Los Angeles, I enjoyed the luxury of taking delicious, homemade Mexican dinners for granted. My father is Mexican-American, so my childhood notion of comfort food was tamales and enchiladas with fresh salsa verde at my auntie Carol, Josie or Lily's house. While theirs may

2017 Best of Olympia: StoryOly

Online Newspapers

2017 Best of Olympia: StoryOly

"Everyone," said author John Knowles, "has a moment in history which belongs particularly to him." In other words, we each have one or more jaw-dropping stories to tell. Remember that time you embarrassed yourself in front of a celebrity, or let "the one who got away" get away? Maybe you

Who we are

Stage

Who we are

A new Sarah Vowell historical hardcover is always a welcome blast of nonfictional entertainment, whether she's discussing Hawaiian statehood (Unfamiliar Fishes), the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony (Wordy Shipmates) or the malcontents who shot American presidents (Assassination Vacation). Her latest book, Lafayette in the Somewhat United States, is the

The not-so-far side

Arts

The not-so-far side

For years, there was a cartoon pinned to the wall over this writer's desk, a square clipped from The New Yorker. It was a simple ink drawing that depicted a sour-faced locomotive and bore a caption that read, "The Little Engine That Could But Just Didn't Feel Like It." The

Superheroes

Stage

Superheroes

This Saturday, Jan. 28, marks the start of another Chinese year of the rooster. Depending on which calendar one observes, it'll be New Year's Day of either 4654, 4714 or 4715. Traditionally, celebrants dine on communal hot pot, seafood and cured meats. They exchange packets of money or other gifts,

Crash bang boom

Stage

Crash bang boom

The history of the percussive performance group known around the world as Stomp began in 1981. Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas of Brighton, UK, were members of a street band, the amusingly named Pookiesnackenburger, which played most of that decade at the Edinburch Festival. As part of Cressell and McNicholas'

Poet in peril

Stage

Poet in peril

Geoffrey Chaucer, a poet and raconteur who plied his trade in the politically fraught London of the late 14th century, is now regarded by scholars as the father of English literature. His unfinished work The Canterbury Tales is a dreaded but frequent college assignment six centuries later - yet the

Party like it's 2017

Stage

Party like it's 2017

We gather to belt "Auld Lang Syne" each New Year's Eve, most of us with only the sketchiest sense of what it means. Robbie Burns' poem, set to the tune of a traditional favorite, extols the comforting value of "old long since," meaning "days gone by," the nostalgia we share

Thou tellest

Music

Thou tellest

"Comfort ye, my people,' saith your God." And with that, one of humanity's crowning achievements in inspirational music gets underway. Who among us doesn't appreciate comfort as we approach the winter solstice? Maybe that's why Messiah, first written for Easter and performed in April, is so inseparably associated with Christmas.

A food court for foodies

Features

A food court for foodies

Despite being a state capital noted for artisanal spirit and cultural diversity, Olympia struggles to birth and maintain what food connoisseurs refer to as "destination dining." Indisputably great restaurants, meaning eateries capable of drawing gastronomes away from Seattle, Portland or even Tacoma, are few and far between. That's why it

Welcome home!

Features

Welcome home!

Ron Swarner was one of the cofounders of the Weekly Volcano back in 2001. He moved on from this paper in April 2015, but his Tacoma-loving, hipster-booster soul is in every drop of ink. When he retired from print journalism, he said he was interested in opening a little bar

Voices of angels

Music

Voices of angels

In late-15th-century Austria, the use of boys' choirs in Catholic mass was already a longstanding tradition. In 1498, Holy Roman Emperor Maximillian I moved his entire court, musicians included, to Vienna. Thus was born the Vienna Chapel Imperial. Maximillian decreed that a choir of two adult bass singers and six

Once upon a barstool

Stage

Once upon a barstool

Few events in life are more tumultuous, more exhausting and elating than falling in love. That emotional tsunami is captured beautifully by writer-director John Carney's 2007 film Once, which finds a Dublin street musician in a "meet cute" and romance with a flower seller from Czechoslovakia. Imagine that experience eight

American on Purpose

Stage

American on Purpose

Scottish-American comedian and TV host Craig Ferguson, currently the star of both Celebrity Name Game and Join or Die With Craig Ferguson, first drew attention stateside as Mr. Wick, the stuffy boss on The Drew Carey Show. These days, in addition to his syndicated game show and History Channel panel

New Bohemians

Stage

New Bohemians

How popular is Giacomo Puccini's four-act tearjerker La Bohème? If you've seen even one opera in your life, there's a good chance this was it. If you've seen a Broadway play, it may well have been Rent - a mid-'90s reboot of Puccini's operatic original. Puccini based La Bohème on an

Symphony Tacoma is born

Music

Symphony Tacoma is born

One of Tacoma's most respected arts organizations will hold a masquerade gala to celebrate the opening of its 70th season, Friday. "We're keeping musical performances alive in the heart of our region," said Andy Buelow, executive director for the group. We aren't trying to be coy about the name of this

The power of pink

Features

The power of pink

This might be the first time a dish of nachos was good for someone's health. Patrons of The RAM may be surprised to find Easter-pink tortilla chips in their Mexican fare, but that ingredient is meant to raise awareness of breast cancer prevention and treatment. "Our nacho chip provider is

Klaatu barada nikto!

Stage

Klaatu barada nikto!

This weekend, Lakewood Playhouse will host close encounters of the radio kind. For his ninth year in a row, James Venturini is directing a cast of vocal talents to perform, live on stage, a radio-drama-style program for Halloween. Venturini and his cast create live sound effects as well. This year's

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